A recent study from the Association of American Medical Colleges shows that diversity, equity and inclusion policies have gained a significant foothold in American medical colleges, and a medical expert tells Fox News Digital that poses a serious risk to the both quality of care and freedom of expression.
"Med schools are devoting more and more time to these social and political issues, leaving less time for the study of medicine," Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, board chair of Do No Harm, told Fox News Digital in response to analysis released by the AAMC, which essentially serves as a report card for how its medical colleges are faring at implementing DEI policies that critics have described as a "woke" agenda.
The AAMC report states that "assessing policies, practices, and programs at the institution and school levels is a first step toward ensuring that academic medicine is well-positioned to cultivate a diverse and culturally prepared workforce, advance inclusion excellence, promote equity advancement, and enhance engagement with local communities."
The report, which examined 101 medical schools, showed that 43% of schools "have promotion and tenure policies that specifically reward faculty scholarship and service on DEI topics" and the number is highlighted in red suggesting that figure is inadequate. The report also shows that 100% of the schools "have admissions policies and practices for encouraging a diverse class of students."
Goldfarb, a board-certified kidney specialist who formerly served as associate dean for curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, told Fox News Digital that these DEI policies place less emphasis on merit and more on diversity benchmarks, which ultimately means quality of care suffers.
"Patients will be viewed as members of a group based on skin color rather than as individuals," Goldfarb said. "Diversity has been elevated above merit and achievement as the basis for choosing med students and promoting faculty. This must lead to a decline in the quality of the physician workforce and undermines a foundational idea of America that you can achieve your goals through hard work and talent."
Additionally, the report shows that political advocacy has been ingrained in the DEI process at medical schools, as evidenced by the statistic showing 75% of medical schools say they "advocate for policies and or legislation at a local, state, or federal level related to its diversity, inclusion, and equity mission."
Goldfarb explained to Fox News Digital that political advocacy has become a "major focus" of DEI efforts in medical schools.
"The get-out-the-vote efforts by every university and medical school is a barely disguised effort to support Democratic candidates, as it is well known that undergraduates and grad students vote largely Democratic," Goldfarb said.
"Med schools are all dependent to some degree on state or federal funding, so powerful lobbying efforts are supported by all these institutions. They are well incentivized to support the local political powers and in most large cities, where med schools are generally located, this means supporting Democratic administrations."
The AAMC defended its report and DEI policies in a statement to Fox News Digital, saying its medical schools have an "obligation to address factors that drive racism and bias in health care" as well as to "prepare physicians who are culturally responsive."
"There is strong evidence that historically marginalized people and people who live in poverty disproportionately experience poor health and inadequate access to quality care," Dr. David A. Acosta, AAMC’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, said in the statement. "These inequities are often rooted in systemic discrimination, including racism, within the nation’s health systems that contributes to lower quality care."
Acosta said the AAMC also has an obligation to "support institutions in being diverse, equitable and inclusive overall to support these goals" and explained that the report is a tool his group uses to help medical schools "identify areas for improvement for creating a holistic strategy where DEI is integrated into all operations and mission areas."
Goldfarb says Do No Harm, which reports its mission is to "protect health care from a radical, divisive and discriminatory ideology." will continue to speak out against the "language of progressive policies" that are "designed to dissemble."
"This language has masked the true nature of what ‘woke’ policies mean and the public has not been well-informed about what is at stake," Goldfarb said.
"Do No Harm is dedicated to informing the public and its legislative representatives about the true nature of woke activities in health care and medical education. We feel that awareness of the initiatives will allow the public to appreciate the risks to the health care system and subsequently, to the health of the American people."